This FAQ is dedicated to all beverages and products that contain caffeine; including tea, coffee, chocolate, mate, caffeinated soft drinks, caffeinated pills, coffee beans, etc.
There are several newsgroups in which these topics may be of reelevance, including alt.drugs.caffeine, rec.food.drink.coffee, rec.food.drink.tea, and alt.food.chocolate.
Rec.food.drink.coffee is preferred over alt.coffee and alt.food.coffee.
Afri-Cola 100.0 (?) Jolt 71.2 Sugar-Free Mr. Pibb 58.8 Mountain Dew 55.0 (no caffeine in Canada) Diet Mountain Dew 55.0 Kick citrus 54 (36mg per 8oz can, caffeine from guarana) Mello Yellow 52.8 Surge 51.0 Tab 46.8 Battery energy drink -- 140mg/l = 46.7mg/can Coca-Cola 45.6 Diet Cola 45.6 Shasta Cola 44.4 Shasta Cherry Cola 44.4 Shasta Diet Cola 44.4 Mr. Pibb 40.8 OK Soda 40.5 Dr. Pepper 39.6 Pepsi Cola 37.2 Aspen 36.0 Diet Pepsi 35.4 RC Cola 36.0 Diet RC 36.0 Diet Rite 36.0 Canada Dry Cola 30.0 Canada Dry Diet Cola 1.2 7 Up 0 Krank2o sample 1 97.7mg/500ml sample 2 101.6mg/500ml Lab: Ameritech Labs, College Pt, NY; tested Sep 03, 96 Krank2o middle 96.4mg/500ml Lab: Ameritech Labs, tested Aug 29, 96By means of comparison, a 7 oz cup of coffee has the following caffeine (mg) amounts, according to Bunker and McWilliams in J. Am. Diet. 74:28-32, 1979:
Drip 115-175 Espresso 100mg of caffeine 1 serving (1.5-2oz) Brewed 80-135 Instant 65-100 Decaf, brewed 3-4 Decaf, instant 2-3 Tea, iced (12 ozs.) 70 Tea, brewed, imported 60 Tea, brewed, U.S. 40 Tea, instant 30 Mate 25-150mgThe variability in the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea is relatively large even if prepared by the same person using the same equipment and ingredients day after day.
Quote from the lab manual:
Caffeine is present in tea leaves and in coffee to the extent of about 4%. Tea also contains two other alkaloids, theobromine and theophylline. These last two relax the smooth muscles where caffeine stimulates the heart and respiratory systems.The effects of theobromine are, compared to caffeine and theophylline, relatively moderate. However, cocoa contains eight times more theophylline than caffeine. As well, caffeine has been shown to combine with other substances for added potency. Thus the effects of theobromine might be enhanced by the caffeine in chocolate.
Theobromine is highly toxic to dogs and kills many canids/year via
Clinical signs of theobromine toxicity in canids usually manifest 8 hours after ingestion and can include: thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, nervousness, clonic muscle spasms, seizures and coma. Any dog thought to have ingested a large quantity of chocolate should be brought to an emergency clinic asap, where treatment usually includes the use of emetics and activated charcoal. The dog will thus need to be monitored to maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance.
Pathogenesis of theobromine toxicity: evidently large quantities of theobromine have a diuretic effect, relax smooth muscles, and stimulate the heart and cns.
Fraser, Clarence M., et al, eds. The Merck Veterinary Manual, 7th ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc. 1991. pp. 1643-44.
On humans caffeine acts particularly on the brain and skeletal muscles
while theophylline targets heart, bronchia, and kidneys.
Other data on caffeine:
Cup of coffee 90-150mg Instant coffee 60-80mg Tea 30-70mg Mate 25-150mg Cola 30-45mg Chocolate bar 30mg Stay-awake pill 100mg Vivarin 200mg Cold relief tablet 30mgThe following information is from Bowes and Church's Food values of portions commonly used, by Anna De Planter Bowes. Lippincott, Phila. 1989. Pages 261-2: Caffeine.
Candy: Chocolate mg caffeine baking choc, unsweetened, Bakers--1 oz(28 g) 25 german sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g) 8 semi-sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g) 13 Choc chips Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g) 13 german sweet, Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g) 15 Chocolate bar, Cadbury -- 1 oz (28 g) 15 Chocolate milk 8oz 8 Desserts: Jello Pudding Pops, Choc (47 g) 2 Choc mousse from Jell-O mix (95 g) 6 Jello choc fudge mousse (86 g) 12 Beverages 3 heaping teaspoons of choc powder mix 8 2 tablespoons choc syrup 5 1 envelope hot cocoa mix 5 Dietary formulas ensure, plus, choc, Ross Labs -- 8 oz (259 g) 10 Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar More stuff: Guarana "Magic Power" (quite common in Germany), 15 ml alcohol with 5g Guarana Seeds 250.0 mg Guarana capsules with 500 mg G. seeds 25.0 mg / capsule (assuming 5% caffeine in seeds as stated in literature)Guarana soda pop is ubiquitous in Brazil and often available at tropical groceries here. It's really tasty and packs a wallop. Guarana wakes you up like crazy, but it doesn't cause coffee jitters.
It is possible that in addition to caffeine, there is some other substance in guarana that also produces an effect, since it 'feels' different than coffee. Same goes for mate.
(Source: Newsletter--Mountanos Bros. Coffee Co., San Francisco)
VARIETALS/STRAIGHTS Brazil Bourbons 1.20% Celebes Kalossi 1.22 Colombia Excelso 1.37 Colombia Supremo 1.37 Costa Rica Tarrazu 1.35 Ethiopian Harrar-Moka 1.13 Guatemala Antigua 1.32 Indian Mysore 1.37 Jamaican Blue Mtn/Wallensford Estate 1.24 Java Estate Kuyumas 1.20 Kenya AA 1.36 Kona Extra Prime 1.32 Mexico Pluma Altura 1.17 Mocha Mattari (Yemen) 1.01 New Guinea 1.30 Panama Organic 1.34 Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong 1.30 Tanzania Peaberry 1.42 Zimbabwe 1.10 BLENDS & DARK ROASTS Colombia Supremo Dark 1.37% Espresso Roast 1.32 French Roast 1.22 Vienna Roast 1.27 Mocha-Java 1.17 DECAFS--all @ .02% with Swiss Water Process
Sources: Coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate, guarana.
Effects: Stimulant of central nervous system, cardiac muscle, and
respiratory system, diuretic Delays fatigue.
Effects: Cariac stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic, vasodilator
Sources: Principle alkaloid of the cocoa bean (1.5-3%) Cola nuts and tea
Effects: Diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, cardiac stimulant, vasodilator.
(Info from Merck Index)
The presence of the other alkaloids in colas and tea may explain why these sometimes have a stronger kick than coffee. Colas, which have lower caffeine contents than coffee are, reportedly, sometimes more active. Tea seems the strongest for some. Coffee seems more lasting for mental alertness and offers fewer jitters than the others.
A search in CAS and produced these names and synonyms:
RN 58-08-2 REGISTRY CN 1H-Purine-2,6-dione, 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (9CI) (CA INDEX NAME) OTHER CA INDEX NAMES: CN Caffeine (8CI) OTHER NAMES: CN 1,3,7-Trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine CN 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine CN 7-Methyltheophylline CN Alert-Pep CN Cafeina CN Caffein CN Cafipel CN Guaranine CN Koffein CN Mateina CN Methyltheobromine CN No-Doz CN Refresh'n CN Stim CN Thein CN Theine CN Tri-Aqua MF C8 H10 N4 O2The correct name is the first one, 1H-Purine-2,6-diione,3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (This is the "inverted name") The "uninverted name" is 3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione
Merck Index excerpt...
Caffeine: 3,7-dihydro- 1,3,7-trimethyl- 1H-purine- 2,6-dione; 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine; 1,3,7-trimethyl- 2,6-dioxopurine; coffeine; thein; guaranine; methyltheobromine; No-Doz.
C8H10N4O2; mol wt 194.19. C 49.48%, H 5.19%, N 28.85%, O 16.48%.
Occurs in tea, coffee, mate leaves; also in guarana paste and cola nuts: Shuman, U.S. pat. 2,508,545 (1950 to General Foods). Obtained as a by-product from the manuf of caffeine-free coffee: Barch, U.S. pat. 2,817,588 (1957 to Standard Brands); Nutting, U.S. pat. 2,802,739 (1957 to Hill Bros. Coffee); Adler, Earle, U.S. pat. 2,933,395 (1960 to General Foods).
Crystal structure: Sutor, Acta Cryst. 11, 453, (1958). Synthesis: Fischer, Ach, Ber. 28, 2473, 3135 (1895); Gepner, Kreps, J. Gen. Chem. USSR 16, 179 (1946); Bredereck et al., Ber. 83, 201 (1950); Crippa, Crippa, Farmaco Ed. Sci. 10, 616 (1955); Swidinsky, Baizer, U.S. pats. 2,785,162 and 2,785,163 (1957 to Quinine Chem. Works); Bredereck, Gotsmann, Ber. 95, 1902 (1962).
Hexagonal prisms by sublimation, mp 238 C. Sublimes 178 C. Fast sublimation is obtained at 160-165 C under 1mm press. at 5 mm distance. d 1.23. Kb at 19 C: 0.7 x 10^(-14). Ka at 25 C: <1.0 x 10^(-14). pH of 1% soln 6.9. Aq solns of caffeine salts dissociate quickly. Absorption spectrum: Hartley, J. Chem. Soc. 87, 1802 (1905). One gram dissolves in 46 ml water, 5.5 ml water at 80 C, 1.5 ml boiling water, 66 ml alcohol, 22 ml alcohol at 60 C, 50 ml acetone, 5.5 ml chloroform, 530 ml ether, 100 ml benzene, 22 ml boiling benzene. Freely sol in pyrrole; in tetrahydrofuran contg about 4% water; also sol in ethyl acetate; slightly in petr ether. Soly in water is increased by alkali benzoates, cinnamates, citrates, or salicylates.
Monohydrate, felted needles, contg 8.5% H2O. Efflorescent in air; complete dehydration takes place at 80 C. LD50 orally in rats: 200 mg/kg.
Acetate, C8H10N4O2.(CH3COOH)2, granules or powder; acetic acid odor; acid reaction. Loses acetic acid on exposure to air. Soluble in water or alcohol with hydrolysis into caffeine and acetic acid. Keep well stoppered.
Hydrochloride dihydrate, C8H10N4O2.HCl.2H2O, crystals, dec 80-100 C with loss of water and HCl. Sol in water and in alcohol with dec.
Therap Cat: Central stimulant.
Therap Cat (Vet): Has been used as a cardiac and respiratory stimulant and as a diuretic.
Caffeine is sometimes called "theine" when it's in tea. This is probably due to an ancient misconception that the active constituent is different. Theophylline is present only in trace amounts. It is more diuretic, more toxic and less speedy.Theobromine and theophylline are two dimethylxanthines that have two rather than three methyl groups. Theobromine is considerably weaker than caffeine and theophylline, having about one tenth the stimulating effect of either.
Coffee and tea contain caffeine and theophylline, respectively, which are methylated purine derivatives that inhibit cAMP phosphodiesterase. In the presence of these inhibitors, the effects of cAMP, and thus the stimulatory effects of the hormones that lead to its production, are prolonged and intensified.
Theobromine is found in cocoa products, tea (only in very small amounts) and kola nuts, but is not found in coffee. In cocoa, its concentration is generally about 7 times as great as caffeine. Although, caffeine is relatively scarce in cocoa, its mainly because of theobromine that cocoa is "stimulating".
Theophylline is found in very small amounts in tea, but has a stronger effect on the heart and breathing than caffeine. For this reason it is often the drug of choice in home remedies for treating asthma bronchitis and emphysema. The theophylline found in medicine is made from extracts from coffee or tea.
A different view of the caffeine molecule.
The Department of Chemistry at Jamaica of the University of Western Indies has made available an avi and an mpeg of a rotation of the caffeine molecule, among other molecules and chemical processes. The index page contains more information and the links to the clips.
CH3 | N / \ N----C C==O || || | || || | CH C N--CH3 \ / \ / N C | || CH3 OThere is a gif picture at the wuarchive.wustl.edu ftp site or any of its mirror sites under
multimedia/images/gif/c caffeineTheobromine is also a common component of coffee, tea, chocolate, and mate (particularly in these last two).
Theobromine CH3 | N / \ N----C C==O || || | || || | CH C N--H \ / \ / N C | || CH3 OTheophylline was once thought to be a major component of tea. This is not correct. Tea contains significantly more amounts of caffeine than of theophylline.
Theophylline CH3 | N / \ N----C C==O || || | || || | CH C N--CH3 \ / \ / N C | || H O
The myth of lower caffeine espresso comes comes from the fact that the darker roast beans used for espresso do have less caffeine than regularly roasted beans as roasting is supposed to break up or sublimate the caffeine in the beans (I have read this quote on research articles, but found no scientific studies supporting it. Anybody out there?). But espresso is prepared using pressurized water through significant twice as much grounds as regular drip coffee, resulting in a higher percentage of caffeine per millilitre.
Here's the caffeine content of Drip/Espresso/Brewed Coffee:
Drip 115-175 Espresso 100 1 serving (1.5-2oz) Brewed 80-135
cocoa 250mg theobromine bittersweet choc. bar 130mg theobromine 5 oz cup brewed coffee no theobromine tea 5oz cup brewed 3min with teabag 3-4 mg theophylline Diet Coke no theobromine or theophylline
Fact: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains major debris, so be careful when you choose. (See note below).
Fact: Once you have freshly roasted and ground coffee, filtered water and equipment free of oil residues from the last brew, quality of beans makes a huge difference.
NOTE: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains a blend of Arabica and robusta beans while most coffee houses sell only arabica beans. Arabica beans are usually flavour rich, while robusta beans have more caffeine, less flavour and are cheaper to produce.
When you buy coffee, whether in a coffee house or in a supermarket, you want to get 100% arabica, except for espresso blends, which are a combination of both.
For freshness, in a coffee house it is better to buy popular blends that move fast, while in a supermarket vacuum packaged containers with expiry date are your best bet.
I used to wash the plastic filter container and rinse the glass pot. Coffee started to taste bad. When I was told to wash both thoroughly with plenty of soap the flavour improved instantly. Note: To the naked eye rinsed and soap washed pots look the same (clean that is).
Some drip coffee makers require periodic cleansing with a solution of water and vinegar.
If you have a coffee/teapot, the inside of which is stained with oily brown residues - also plastic/metal coffee filters, tea strainers, and stainless steel sinks in caffeine-o-phile houses - they can be restored to a shining, brand-spanking-new state by washing in hot washing powder (detergent).
Get a large plastic jug, add 2..3 heaped tablespoons of Daz Automatic or Bold or whatever, and about a pint of hot water - just off the boil is the best.
Swill the jug around until the detergent is dissolved, and then pour into tea/coffeepot, and let it stand for 5 minutes, swilling the pot around occasionally, just to keep the detergent moving. Put the lid on and shake it a few times (care: slippery + hot)
Repeat as necessary. Keep it hot with a little boiling water if needed. If you have a cafetiere, dissemble it, and soak the parts in the mixture for a few minutes, agitating occasionally.
In both cases, the residue just falls off with almost no scrubbing. It does great things with over-used filter machine filters, too.
Important: Rinse off all detergent afterwards, use lots of fresh water.
For consumption within:
The best way to proceed is to consume caffeine regularly for a week, while keeping a precise log of the times and amounts of caffeine intake (remember that chocolate, tea, soda beverages and many headache pills contain caffeine as well as coffee). At the end of the week proceed to reduce your coffee intake at the rate recommended above. Remember to have substitutes available for drinking: if you are not going to have a hot cup of coffee at your 10 minute break, you might consider having hot chocolate or herbal tea, but NOT decaff, since decaff has also been shown to be addictive. This should take you through the works without much problem.
Some other people quit cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms are quite nasty this way (see section below) but they can usually be countered with lots of sleep and exercise. Many people report being able to stop drinking caffeine almost cold-turkey while on holidays on the beach. If quitting cold turkey is proving too hard even in the beach, drinking a coke might help.
This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several analgesics contain caffeine dosages).
Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable, unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.
Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan R. Liss Inc, 1984.
Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine IntoxicationBasically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.
- Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250 mg.
- At least five of the following signs:
- flushed face
- gastrointestinal disturbance
- muscle twitching
- rambling flow of thought and speech
- tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
- periods of inexhaustibility
- psychomotor agitation
- Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as an Anxiety Disorder.
The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported to kill 50% of the population) is estimated at 10 grams for oral administration. As it is usually the case, lethal dosage varies from individual to individual according to weight. Ingestion of 150mg/kg of caffeine seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people weighting 50 kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams, people weighting 80 kilos have an LD_50 of about 12 grams.
In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of coffee or about 50 vivarins (200mg each).
One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting 24 grams. The minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2 grams intravenously, this does not represent the oral MLD (minimum lethal dose).
In small children ingestion of 35 mg/kg can lead to moderate toxicity. The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is 50 - 200 mg. Infants metabolize caffeine very slowly.
The toxic dose is going to vary from person to person, depending primarily on built-up tolerance. A couple people report swallowing 10 to 13 vivarin and ending up in the hospital with their stomaches pumped, while a few say they've taken that many and barely stayed awake.
A symptom lacking in the clinical manual but reported by at least two people on the net is a loss of motor ability: inability to move, speak, or even blink. The experience is consistently described as very unpleasant and not fun at all, even by those very familiar with caffeine nausea and headaches.
These reports have proved controversial. What is known is that caffeine does causes malformations in rats, when ingested at rates comparable to 70 cups a day for humans. Many other species respond equally to such large amounts of caffeine.
Data is scant, as experimentation on humans is not feasible. In any case moderation in caffeine ingestion seems to be a prudent course for pregnant women. Recent references are Pastore and Savitz, Case-control study of caffeinated beverages and preterm delivery. American Journal of Epidemiology, Jan 1995.
On men, it has been shown that caffeine reduces rates of sperm motility which may account for some findings of reduced fertility.
"There was a significant association between (drinking more) caffeinated coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine, independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, thiazides, and calcium supplements [in women]."
"Bone density did not vary [...] in women who reported drinking at least one glass of milk per day during most of their adult lives."
That is, if you drink a glass of milk a day, there is no need to worry about the caffeine related loss of calcium.
The study of nearly 130,000 Northern California residents and the records of 4,500 who have died looked at the effects of coffee and tea on mortality.
Cardiologist Arthur Klatsky said of the surprising results, ``This is not a fluke finding because our study was very large, involved a multiracial population, men, women, and examined closely numerous factors related to mortality such as alcohol consumption and smoking.''
The unique survey also found no link between coffee consumption and death risk. And it confirmed a ``weak'' connection of coffee or tea to heart attack risk -- but not to other cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.
The study was conducted by the health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente and was reported Wednesday in the Annals of Epidemiology.
Some English language dictionaries also list "expresso" as a variant spelling. However, this does not mean the spelling is 'equally valid'. (see the post by Jesse Sheidlower included below)
It was pointed out during the great "espresso vs. expresso" debate (spring 94) that the Italian alphabet does not even contain the letter "X", which is incorrect.
Further, it was discovered that at least three dictionaries contained incorrect definitions of the word "espresso". The American Heritage Dictionary gave the following definition:
"A strong coffee brewed by forcing steam under pressure through darkly roasted, powdered coffee beans."The Oxford English Dictionary said:
"Coffee brewed by forcing steam through powdered coffee beans"The Webster New World Dictionary gives:
"coffee prepared in a special machine from finely ground coffee beans, through which steam under high pressure is forced."All three of these are wrong. In fact, espresso is a strong coffee brewed by quickly forcing hot water through darkly roasted, finely ground coffee beans.
(Some espresso makers do use steam, but only to force the hot water through the ground coffee. The steam NEVER touches the coffee. Many espresso makers use no steam at all. Instead, they use either a pump or a piston to quickly force hot water through the ground coffee.)
Once these errors and the origins of the word "espresso" had been pointed out, the argument "but expresso is in the dictionary" quickly began to crumble. The final death blow to this position came in a post by dictionary editor Jesse Sheidlower. This post is reproduced in its entirety below:
Jesse Sheidlower writes
I find this thread fascinating. I regret that it demonstrates an unfamiliarity with dictionaries and how to use them, but no matter. I believe that I am the only dictionary editor to participate in this discussion, so let me waste a bit more bandwidth addressing some of the points made so far, and introducing a few others:
- The OED, Second Edition, does include _espresso_ and _expresso_, the latter being a variant of the former. It correctly derives it from Italian _caffe espresso_. [Accents left off here.] Whoever claimed it derives the term from a would-be Italian _caffe expresso_ was in error.
- There _is_ an "x" in Latin and Italian.
- There are four major American dictionaries (published by Merriam Webster, Webster's New World, Random House, and American Heritage). The most recent edition of each gives _espresso_ as the main form, and _expresso_ as a variant only. The fact that _expresso_ is listed in the dictionary does not mean that it is equally common: the front matter for each dictionary explains this. The person who claimed that three dictionaries including OED give _expresso_ as "equally valid" was in error.
- Dictionaries, in general, do not dictate usage: they reflect the usage that exists in the language. If a dictionary says that _espresso_ is the main spelling, it means that in the experience of its editors (based on an examination of the language), _espresso_ is notably more common. It does not mean that the editors have a vendetta against _expresso_.
- To the linguist who rejects the authority of dictionaries: I agree that language is constantly changing; I'm sure that every dictionary editor in the country does as well. Dictionaries are outdated before they go to press. But I think they remain accurate to a large extent. Also, if you are going to disagree with the conclusions of a dictionary, you should be prepared to back yourself up. I can defend, with extensive written evidence, our decision to give _espresso_ as the preferred form.
- The spelling _espresso_ is the form used by the copy desks of the _New York Times,_ _Gourmet,_ _Bon Appetit,_ The _Wine Spectator,_ the _Wall St. Journal,_ the _L.A. Times,_ _Time,_ _Newsweek,_ and to my knowledge every other major or minor newspaper or magazine, general or food-related, in the English-speaking world. The fact that a handwritten menu on an Italian restaurant door spells it "expresso" is trivial by comparison.
- In sum: though both _espresso_ and _expresso_ are found, the former is by far the more common. It is also to be favored on immediate etymological evidence, since the Italian word from which it is directly borrowed is spelled _espresso_. The form _espresso_ is clearly preferred by all mainstream sources.
The U.S. Navy used to serve alcoholic beverages on board ships. However, when Admiral Josephus "Joe" Daniels became Chief of Naval Operations, he outlawed alcohol onboard ships, except for very special occasions. Coffee then became the beverage of choice, hence the term "Cup of Joe."
If using a stove top espresso machine, clean after each use, paying attention to the seal and strainer.
Start with cold milk (it doesn't really need to be ice-cold), use homo milk or carnation. 2% or skim is just not thick enough (admittedly, it is easier to produce foam with skim milk).
Place the milk on a special cappuccino glass with a cappuccino basket. (Cappuccino glasses have a thinner bottom).
Aerate the milk near the top, within 2cm (1 in) of the top. Move the glass down as the milk aerates. It is a good idea to have an oscillating motion while aerating the milk.
Aerating the milk in another container, then pouring in a glass and adding the foam with a spoon is sacrilege.
Anybody who has done so should make a pilgrimage to San Francisco's Girardelli's. Otherwise entry to heaven will be denied (god, is after all, Italian. At least the catholic one).
If you need to aerate the milk on a separate container, aerate exactly the amount of milk required for one cup, so no need to add foam with a spoon.
Once the milk has been aerated, promptly clean the aerator with a wet rag. Failure to do so will quickly result in rotten milk flavour coming from the aerator.
Another warning on similar lines applies to restaurant type coffee machines: leave the aerator valve open when powering the machine up and down. When the machine is off a partial vacuum is formed in the boiler that will suck milk residue into the boiler. This then coats the inside of the boiler and can cause bad smelling steam until the boiler is flushed. Some machines have a vacuum bleed valve to prevent this problem but many don't.
Wait for the steam pressure to build up again (for some cappuccino makers wait time is near zero, for others it maybe as long as 60 secs).
Prepare the espresso coffee, you may add it directly on to the glass if possible or use a cup and then pour it from the cup on the milk.
According to Jym Dyer: In Italy, the milk is added TO the espresso, not the other way around, that way the milk is floating; on top, where you then add the sugar, and stir it up.
Cappuccino tastes better when is really hot, and has two teaspoons of sugar. (small teaspoons, like the ones in expensive silverware).
Then accompany said cappuccino with a warm tea bisquet or english muffin with marmalade, or alternatively with a baguette sandwich or panini.
With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:
Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate, about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.
Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper) chocolate:
Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste's.
What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.
Note: For some strange reason, when preparing this coffee I tend to have a success ratio of about one out of two attempts. I still don't know what I'm doing wrong, since, as far as I can tell, always repeat the same steps. Perhaps sometimes I don't let the coffee rest long enough.
This type of coffee is similar in nature to the French press. And in principle, you could possibly add sugar to the ground coffee, then pour water, and lastly press with the strainer.
Use a heaping teaspoon of very finely ground coffee and, optionally, one heaping teaspoon of sugar (to taste). Use about 3oz of coffee. [Add the sugar only just before boiling point.] Turkish coffee without sugar is called sade, with a little sugar is "orta s,ekerli" and with lots of sugar is "c,ok s,ekerli".
The trick of it is to heat it until it froths pour the froth into the coffee dup and heat it a second time. When it froths again, pour the rest into the cup.
The grounds will settle to the bottom of the cup as you drink the coffee and towards the end, it'll start to taste bitter and the texture will be more like wet coffee grounds than a drink. As soon as this happens stop or your next sip will taste really, really bitter. Instead, turn your cup upside down on the saucer, and let someone read your fortune!
You'll have to experiment with the strength and milk so you get lots of taste after the ice/water dilutes it.
Alternatively, this version which comes from a newspaper article of many years ago simply calls for grinding two or three fresh cardamom pods and putting them in with the coffee grounds. Make a strong coffee with a fresh dark roast, chill it, sweeten and add half-and-half to taste.
Lastly, we have the following recipe:
Makes 1 8-cup pot of coffee
One final note: this would probably be even better with iced espresso, because the espresso is so much more powerful and loses its taste less when it's cold.
Serve over ice, with unsweetened evaporated milk (or heavy cream if you're feeling extra indulgent). To get the layered effect, place a spoon atop the coffee and pour the milk carefully into the spoon so that it floats on the top of the coffee.
The recipe I have calls for:
There is also a stronger version of Thai coffee called "Oleng" which is very strong to me and to a lot of coffee lovers.
6 to 8 tablespoons ground espresso or French roast coffee 4 to 6 green cardamom pods, crushed Sugar to taste Half-and-half or cream Ice cubes
Put the cardamom pods and the ground dark-roast coffee into a coffee press, espresso maker, or the filter of a drip coffee maker (if using a drip-style coffee maker, use half the water). Brew coffee as for espresso, stir in sugar.
Fill a large glass with ice and pour coffee over ice, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. Place a spoon at the surface of the coffee and slowly pour half-and-half or cream into the spoon, so that it spreads across the top of the coffee rather than sinking in. (You'll stir it in yourself anyway, but this is a much prettier presentation and it's as used in most Thai restaurants.)
As with Vietnamese coffee, the struggle here is to keep from downing this all in ten seconds.
Make even stronger coffee, preferably in a Vietnamese coffee maker. (This is a metal cylinder with tiny holes in the bottom and a perforated disc that fits into it; you put coffee in the bottom of the cylinder, place the disc atop it, then fill with boiling water and a very rich infusion of coffee drips slowly from the bottom.)
If you are using a Vietnamese coffee maker, put two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a cup and put the coffee maker on top of the cup. If you are making espresso or cafe filter (the infusion method where you press the plunger down through the grounds after several minutes of infusion), mix the sweetened condensed milk and the coffee any way you like.
When the milk is dissolved in the coffee (yes, dissolved *is* the right word here!), pour the combination over ice and sip.
Thai and Vietnamese coffees are very different.
Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese style iced coffee)
When all water has dripped through, stir the milk and coffee together. You can drink them like this, just warm, as ca phe sua neng, but I prefer it over ice, as ca phe sua da. To serve it that way, pour the milk-coffee mixture over ice, stir, and drink as slowly as you can manage. I always gulp mine too fast. :-)
If you can't find a Vietnamese coffee press, regular-strength espresso is an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or with a dark coffee with chicory. I've seen the commonly available Medaglia d'Oro brand coffee cans in Vietnamese restaurants, and it works, though you'll lose some of the subtle bitterness that the chicory offers. I think Luzianne brand coffee comes with chicory and is usable in Vietnamese coffee, though at home I generally get French roast from my normal coffee provider.
Of these two coffees, Vietnamese coffee should taste more or less like melted Haagen-Dasz coffee ice cream, while Thai iced coffee has a more fragrant and lighter flavour from the cardamom and half-and-half rather than the condensed milk. Both are exquisite, and not difficult to make once you've got the equipment.
As a final tip, I often use my old-fashioned on-the-stove espresso maker (the one shaped like an hourglass, where you put water in the bottom, coffee in the middle, and as it boils the coffee comes out in the top) for Thai iced coffee. The simplest way is merely to put the cardamom and sugar right in with the coffee, so that what comes out the top is ready to pour over ice and add half and half. It makes a delicious and very passable version of restaurant-style Thai iced coffee.
Please send comments to Alex Lopez-Ortiz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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